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Hitting From The Wrong Putting Green

Posted: 8/26/2014

Why was Seung-Yul Noh penalized for making a stroke from the wrong putting green?

During the second round of The Barclays on Aug. 22 at Ridgewood Country Club in Paramus, N.J., an unusual situation occurred when a player made a stroke from a wrong putting green. While playing the par-4 11th hole, Seung-Yul Noh’s errant tee shot came to rest on the putting green of the adjacent third hole.

The Rules of Golf differentiate between the putting green and all other putting greens on the course. The “putting green” is the ground specially prepared for putting on the hole which the player is currently playing. All other putting greens are defined as “wrong putting greens.”

While there are 18 putting greens – and typically additional practice greens – on an 18-hole golf course, there is only one “putting green” on each hole. In Noh’s case, the 11th hole’s putting green was the “putting green,” as defined by the Rules, and the putting green on the third hole was a “wrong putting green.”

You are entitled to make any type of stroke (e.g., a chip) when your ball lies on the “putting green.” However, Rule 25-3 (Wrong Putting Green) prohibits making any stroke from a “wrong putting green” in an effort to protect against a player damaging a putting green with a full swing.

Under the Rules, you must take relief from a "wrong putting green," without penalty, by dropping the ball within one club-length and not closer to the hole than the nearest point of relief. Taking relief is not optional.

When Noh did not take relief and instead played his ball from the “wrong putting green,” he played a stroke on a part of the course where the Rules do not permit a stroke to be made, i.e., a wrong place (Rule 20-7a). He was penalized two strokes and recorded a 7 on the hole.

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